Psoriasis Drug Linked to Rare and Fatal Brain Infection

Genentech, Inc. has voluntarily withdrawn the psoriasis drug Raptiva® (efalizumab) from the US market. Raptiva is associated with an increased risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML is a rare and usually fatal disease of the central nervous system. There are no known interventions that can adequately treat PML.

The chief medical officer of Genentech, Hal Barron, MD, believes that Raptiva has helped many psoriasis sufferers, but the risk of PML outweighs the drug’s benefits. Approximately 46,000 patients worldwide have taken Raptiva for chronic plaque psoriasis. There have been 3 cases of diagnosed PML in patients receiving Raptiva. It is not known whether other unreported cases have occurred.

If you are currently taking Raptiva, talk to your doctor about transitioning to another treatment option. Severe psoriasis worsening may occur with sudden discontinuation of Raptiva. For more information on the Raptiva withdrawal, visit the Genentech Newsroom.

Published on 04/09/2009 | Last updated on 10/18/2018